Resolutions 2014: Gone With the Wind

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It’s time for another wonderful guest blogger to fulfill a film resolution! Today’s participant is the dedicated Mr. MovieRob. I say “dedicated” not only because Rob has loads of excellent reviews on his blog with multiple postings nearly every day (go see for yourself if you haven’t already), but he picked a film that is, to put it mildly, a bit of a time commitment. But I’m so glad he made that commitment because this turned out great! But you didn’t come here to read my jibber jabber, so I’m going to turn it over to Rob now. Here’s his take on Gone With the Wind!

The lovely Cara challenged me to watch a movie that I have never seen, so I finally pulled up my bootstraps, made some popcorn and sat down to watch this 4 hour epic movie – Gone With the Wind for the very first time ever.

Thanks Cara for the opportunity to guest blog and also to watch a movie like GWTW for the first time!

gone-with-the-wind-dvd-cover-63

“No, I don’t think I will kiss you, although you need kissing, badly. That’s what’s wrong with you. You should be kissed and often, and by someone who knows how.” – Rhett Butler

Number of Times Seen – 1 (5 Jan 2014)

Brief Synopsis – An epic tale of love and war in the US South before, during and following the US Civil War.

My Take on it – There aren’t many movies that I have avoided seeing in order to maintain my belief that a masterpiece must always remain a masterpiece.

This is one of them.

In my (very) close to 40 years on this Earth, I have avoided this movie like the plague for fear that it wouldn’t be able to live up to the reputation as one of the greatest film-making achievements ever.  I refused to watch it when it would be on TV, never wanted to rent it and even when I found and bought a discounted copy of it on DVD 14 years ago, it remained on my shelf (still) collecting dust.  It is, to my knowledge the only DVD I own that I had never watched until today (and I have close to 500 DVDs).

Besides the fact that I never saw it, I also didn’t know very much about it before watching it since I attempt to avoid movie spoilers as much as possible in order to fully enjoy the experience (whenever possible).

I knew that Clark Gable and Vivien Leigh played the two main characters, I knew that Hattie McDaniel won an Oscar for Best Supporting Actress (being the first African American to be nominated and win), I knew that it took place in the South during the Civil War and I knew the two most famous movie lines from this movie (“Frankly my dear”… and “Tomorrow is another day”), but didn’t understand the context of those classic lines.

So basically, I started watching this movie not knowing very much at all about the plot or storyline at all.

Another reason I have been avoiding this movie is its close to 4-hour running time. People who know me know that I can tolerate if not extremely enjoy long movies (I loved all of the Lord of the Ring Extended Editions and even thoroughly enjoyed the Dances With Wolves Directors Cut which runs also close to 4 hours.) For me to enjoy a long movie, though, I need to have the time to sit and take it all in.

The first half of this movie was truly amazing; the way that they show the changes to the South and its citizens due to the war is done extremely well. We get to see the Southern arrogance at the beginning of the war and their despair when defeat seemed to be their fate. The heroism and gallantry of the soldiers as they go off to war and the way the women supported them in doing so was done so tastefully. The most poignant scene of all was obviously when Scarlett is running among a field of wounded and we see the human toll of the war.

This movie, though, isn’t a story about war; it’s a love story about people who have to deal with the war around them, and through the first half of this movie (2 hours) it is done in a very impactful way that we can really feel for all of those involved.

The flaw of this movie is truly the second half where it takes the love story to a love-hate relationship and just keeps going on and on.

It’s as if they made two movies and pasted them together expecting one to be “infected” by the other thus making a “grand” picture of life in the South before, during and after the war years.

Unfortunately, that doesn’t work since the last two hours have moments of genius followed by lulls that last too long and just bore the hell out of the viewer.

Many people may think that I’m acting blasphemous by saying this, but had they shortened the second half by (probably) an hour or so, it would have been tighter and worked better.

I know that this is THE movie that has sold the most tickets EVER and is on so many lists as one of the greatest movies to ever be made and I can understand why people say that and even believe that, but for me, I need a movie to captivate me for its entire length or at least 90% of its length to achieve true greatness, and this movie falls slightly short of that (IMHO).

The fact remains, though, that they achieved the Epic love story that they set out to make, and for that this movie gets a lot of credit because in achieving that goal, it changed the face of movies forever.

When this movie came out in 1939, no one had seen or even conceived of seeing something like this onscreen, and all you movie lovers like me out there can be thankful that it did because without this near masterpiece we would all be bored with no movies to watch.

This movie won 8 Oscars (and two technical awards) out of 13 nominations.

It won Best Picture, Screenplay, Director, Actress (Leigh), Supporting Actress (McDaniel), Cinematography, Art Direction, and Film Editing. It won two technical awards for outstanding achievement in the use of color for the enhancement of dramatic mood in the production and for pioneering in the use of coordinated equipment in the production.

It lost Best Actor (Gable), Sound, Music, Effects, and Supporting Actress (Olivia De Havilland).

Bottom Line – Brilliant but over-long film. Understandable why so many love this movie. Very deserving of its 8 Oscar wins. Highly recommended!

Rating – Oscar Worthy

Thank you, Rob, for a great addition to Resolutions! This series has been coming along beautifully so far, and there’s plenty on the way! Hoping to post another resolution of my own tomorrow. And keep in mind, there’s still room on the roster if you’d like to partake! Comment below or shoot me an email (cs227@evansville.edu) if this you think this sounds like a fun idea. The more the merrier! 🙂

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19 thoughts on “Resolutions 2014: Gone With the Wind

  1. Good commentary. I largely agree. A great movie that is very hard to watch.

    For the reasons you cite as well as because this is a bit too stereotypical. I know the era in which it was made has to be considered, but the way it portrays slaves and the south in general makes my modern eyes cringe.

    • If thats the case JJames, I dont recommend you watch A Birth of a Nation (1915). The movie tries to portray what was going on then, so we cant fault them for that. Ironic tho that McDaniel won the Oscar in a movie dealing with slavery during segregation.. She wasn’t even allowed to attend the Atlanta premiere.
      Thanks for commenting.

      • Yeah, Birth of a Nation is something to be seen, long, boring and very very un-PC. I like how they used footage from it for Forrest Gump (1994).

        Yeah, I think a shame is putting segregation in a very mild light 🙂

  2. Excellent review! I love this movie. But I’m ashamed to admit that the first time I saw it I was watching it on VHS and it’s so long, so there were 2 tapes. Anyways, I put the second tape in first by mistake so I was a little lost and then it all seemed to wrap up so quickly, Rhett was slamming doors and saying he didn’t give a damn and I was like “What the hell, I’ve still got a whole other tape to watch!” It was a bit of a disaster. But I was much more entertained when I watched it in its proper order a few months later.

  3. Pingback: Resolutions 2014: Double Indemnity |

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